International Student Loans – key facts about international students in the US and US study abroad students
February 26th, 2019 by Al Clunnie
It’s always interesting to look back at the previous year to get a feel for what’s going on in international education. Of course, we’re particularly interested in finding the perfect student loan for international students. So here are some key facts about international students in the US and US study abroad students.
Whether you’re a foreign student studying in the US, or a US citizen dreaming of studying abroad, we hope you enjoy learning a little more about the state of international education right now.
And when you’re ready you can learn about applying for your international student loan.
International students in the US
According to research carried out by The Institute of International Education (IIE), 271,738 international students enrolled at a US institution at the start of the 2017-2018 academic year. This is down almost 7% compared to the 2016-2017 figures (290,836 international students) and a further decline from the peak of 300,743 international students recorded in 2015-2016.
The total number of international students in the US was 1,094,792. This is up 1.5% on the previous year, but the rate of growth is at its lowest for over 10 years and a significant change from the 10% growth in total international student numbers in the US in the 2014-2015 academic year.
One encouraging trend is that international students represent a growing percentage of total student numbers. International students now represent more than 1 in every 20 students in the US (5.5% of all students). This has grown year on year.
In terms of the distribution of international students in the USA, we looked at the 10 most popular states.
The highest concentration of international students is in California. In 2016-2017 there were 156,879 international students in California. This rose 3.2% to 161,942 in 2017-2018.
The state with the biggest increase in international student numbers was Massachusetts. Massachusetts saw a staggering 8.4% increase in international student numbers to 68,192 compared to 62,926 in the previous academic year.
The following were notable in their decreases but remain amongst the top 10 most popular states for international students:
Ohio (down 2.8% to 37,583)
Indiana (down 2.0% to 29,994)
Texas (down 0.9% to 84,348)
Popular US schools for international students
The most popular schools, colleges, and universities for international students in the US may or may not surprise you. Amongst the top 5, we are proud to say that no-cosigner loans are available at all of them.
Coming out on top with a total of 17,552 international students was New York University, New York, NY. No-cosigner loans are available at New York University.
The rest of the top 5 are as follows:
#2 – University of Southern California – Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA) – 16,075 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at University of Southern California – Los Angeles.
#3 – Northeastern University – Boston (Boston, MA) – 14,905 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at Northeastern University – Boston.
#4 – Columbia University (New York, NY) – 14,615 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at Columbia University.
#5 – Arizona State University – Tempe (Tempe, AZ) – 13,459 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at Arizona State University – Tempe.
Courses for international students in the US
The largest number of international students in the US are on Undergraduate programs (442,748), with 308,953 Graduate students enrolled. There were 203,462 international students in the US on Optional Practical Training courses. There were also 65,631 international students on other, non-degree courses.
The three most popular fields of study for international students studying in the USA were Engineering (with 21.3% of all international students), Business and Management (17.9%) and Math and Computer Science (17.0%).
For more information about the options available to international students attending US schools visit our International Student pages.
US Study Abroad Students
If we turn our attention now to US students studying abroad, the latest statistics available are for the 2016-2017 academic year. This year saw the number of US students studying abroad rise a modest 2.3% over the previous year to a total of 332,727 students.
More than 25% of these students (85,786) enrolled in STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Business was the next most popular field of study, with Social Sciences coming in third.
The 292,467 US undergraduate students studying abroad in 2016-2017 represented 1.8% of the 16,298,944 total US undergraduate enrolment.
64.6% of US students studying abroad in 2016-2017 did so for a short period (e.g. a summer or a study period of 8 weeks or less). 33.1% spent a semester (or one or two quarters depending on the institution) abroad. Only 2.4% studied abroad for the long-term – an academic or calendar year (or more).
Where do US students abroad study?
Europe hosted the vast majority of US students studying abroad. Latin America & the Caribbean came in second and Asia took third place.
#1 – Europe, 181,145 total US students (54%)
#2 – Latin America & Caribbean, 51,513 US students (15.5%)
#3 – Asia, 38,621 US students (11.6%)
24,790 US students (7.5%) studied in more than one region in the 2016-2017 academic year.
On a country level, 39,851 US students were studying in the United Kingdom in 2016-2017. This represents 12% of the total number of US students studying abroad. The UK is the largest single concentration of US study abroad students.
China appears at sixth in the list, with 11,910 US students studying there (3.6% of the total).
There are some other surprise appearances in the list of the top 25 most popular destinations for US students studying abroad:
#9 – Costa Rica hosted over 8,000 US students
#11 – over 6,000 US students made South Africa their home for part of their studies
#13 – almost 5,000 students experienced student life in the Czech Republic
Besides the 332,727 students who enrolled in courses leading to academic credit, 36,975 US students attended over 400 other institutions and took part in non-credit work, research, volunteering, and internships abroad.
If you’re interested in finding out more about your options as a US student studying abroad please visit our Study Abroad pages.